The FRX’s are SEBA’s base line of freestyle slalom skate. With a price point under $200, it makes getting into freestyle slalom inexpensive, but don’t assume that these skates are “cheap.”
Back in the 90’s I used to ride on some Bauer F3’s. When I grew up I stopped skating, then recently got back into it with some K2’s. I skated on the K2’s two weeks before getting the FRX’s. Did they automatically make me a better skater? No, but it sure make learning freestyle slalom a lot easier. After riding in FRX’s for a couple weeks, my feet hurt riding in K2’s.
I skate at the frequency of about 50 hours a month, or about 90 minutes every day on a concrete driveway. In that time I’ve gotten very used to the FRX’s, and have taken them through the ringer and back.
The first month of riding on these skates was absolutely brutal. There were times I could only wear them for 15 minutes before my feet would just ache! This is a break-in period, and as long as you stick through it it’ll get better. Once they do get broken in though, you won’t want to take them off.
The frame being used on these skates isn’t the “best” frame that SEBA has, but it’s held up fairly well to my abuse. I’m only 5’8” and 140lbs, so the lightweight frame is OK for me. However if you have a fella at 200lbs, I’d skip the FRX’s and get a skate with a better frame like the Carbon model.
On several occasions the frame has shifted laterally from the boot, thus becoming offset. Tightening the bolt fixes the issue, but I think if SEBA used a bolt that “grips” better it would eliminate this issue. In other words, be prepared to adjust the frame when it becomes offset. SEBA actually markets this as a feature on this skate, but becomes a nuisance when you don’t want it to shift.
After 100 hours on FRX’s I can see the back frame starting to spread away from the wheels. It’s very minor, but does reveal the lower quality of the frames on the skates. Keep in mind though that with a price point at under $200, SEBA has done an excellent job at balancing quality with price.
Another perhaps bigger flaw, is the cuff release mixed together with the straps on the boot that you use to carry the skates. On more than one occasion this strap has gotten caught on the opposite foots cuff-release, and on this particular day it finally broke the plastic (I currently skate with the metal wire sticking out of the release since the plastic has broken all the way off). I actually contacted SEBA about this, and they we’re quick to reply that they are aware of it, and has already been fixed for the next line due out in 2011. These folks are serious about their skates.
The last thing I want to point out is the boot closure on the toe, or the lack thereof that is. When you first start out, you don’t’ worry about this kind of stuff. You’re mainly concerned with getting down basic moves. But, after lacing the skates up over 100 times, you begin to notice the shortcomings of the FRX’s. The laces at the toe never budge. Meaning, I pretty much lace from half way up the foot, up. On the toe part is hard plastic, so you won’t be able to tighten them anymore than the boot is fitted. When you start doing heeling and nose wheel tricks, you’ll see why the upper end models have not only one, but two additional straps at the middle, and toe.
With all of that to say, the FRX’s are superior to anything you’ll find at your local skate shop for freestyle slalom. If your the type of person that likes to do things right the first time around, I’d go for the Carbons over the FRX’s. If you want the best of the best get the Igors (hoping to upgrade to these soon) You’ll get a stiffer frame, a carbon boot, the latch up front, and different cuff release which are the only downfalls I’ve noticed with the FRX’s. If you’re just getting into the sport, you can’t go wrong the FRX’s, and I definitely recommend them.